I enjoy yoga because it’s a full body and mind release. For this reason, I often recommend yoga to my clients. Yoga is especially beneficial for individuals that have been impacted by trauma.

“Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.”-American Psychological Association.

We hold traumatic experiences not just in our minds, but also in our bodies. For a person living with posttraumatic stress, it’s common to experience random flashbacks and sometimes feel actual pain that mirrors the traumatic event. This pain can be physical and emotional.

As humans, even with continued self-work, we can’t control everything that could present as a trigger for our mind and memory. Yoga and breathing exercises help myself and many others manage life after trauma. I believe that when you have several healthy lifestyle practices in your weekly routine, it helps you to heal overtime. Yoga has other benefits including better sleep, managing chronic pain, supporting mental health, and improving digestion.

I attended a yoga class at Miami Botanical Garden. Walking through the lush garden towards the class was relaxing. The yoga instructor, Franci Blanco lead us in breathing and various yoga positions. She continued to say in the gentlest voice: “Let go of your past story.” As I focused on my breathing and allowed my body to stretch, I began to let go. Just thinking about it brings up emotion. The process of acknowledging pain and releasing it at the same time is so powerful. While you are going through this releasing process, everything is still. The sounds of nature were comforting. I felt peace within myself.

The stretching of the body creates a straining sensation followed by a feeling of rest. This reminds me of life, which is sometimes tough, but we always move through it eventually. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to take part in this yoga class. I left feeling renewed both inside and out. I walked around the garden looking at the beautiful plants and let go of my past story – because today is a good day! Give yourself permission to have experiences that allow you to heal.